Cold turkey cocaine

It is possible to quit cocaine without the help of a detox or rehab, but the do-it-yourself method isn’t recommended, because it can be dangerous. More on safe ways to get off cocaine here.

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When cocaine use is stopped or when a binge ends, a crash follows almost immediately. This crash is accompanied by a strong craving for more cocaine. So, is it safe to go cold turkey on cocaine?  We review here, and invite your questions about detoxing from cocaine at the end.

Cold turkey off cocaine

Cocaine use can be extremely destructive to your body and mind. Most people realize at some point that if they don’t stop using, they will suffer grave physical and emotional consequences. Many users won’t make a change until they’ve hit “rock bottom,” where frankly their only choice is quitting or death.

So, what does it mean to go “cold turkey” off a drug? Basically, this type of withdrawal or detox requires complete drug cessation, without tapering of lowered doses.  When the drug is discontinued immediately, the user will experience what has come to be known as a “comedown” or “crash” along with a number of other cocaine withdrawal symptoms. However, most experts recommend a medically supervised treatment for cocaine detox, especially for long time or high dose users who are at risk of suicide or who display paranoia or hallucinations.

Going cold turkey cocaine?

While cocaine dependence can develop in users, most people experience the effects of a “crash” after cocaine use related to single episodes. In effect, the psychological symptoms of craving and obsession can be more intense than some of the physical symptoms.  Why is this?

Cocaine produces a sense of extreme joy by causing the brain to release higher than normal amounts of the biochemicals serotonin and dopamine (and prevent their reuptake in nerve synapses). Because cocaine is so related to euphoric effect, going cold turkey off cocaine can manifest as a strong desire to use cocaine, or can bring mood or mental health disorders to the surface? So, what kinds of symptoms manifest during cocaine withdrawal?

Cold turkey cocaine withdrawal

What does cocaine withdrawal feel like? The craving and depression related to cold turkey cocaine withdrawal can last for months following cessation of long-term heavy use (particularly daily). Withdrawal symptoms may also be associated with suicidal thoughts in some people.

Primary symptoms of cocaine withdrawal may include:

  • agitation and restless behavior
  • depressed mood
  • fatigue
  • generalized malaise
  • increased appetite
  • vivid and unpleasant dreams
  • slowing of activity

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms treatment usually involves supportive care and psychotherapy, when helpful.  During withdrawal, there can be powerful, intense cravings for cocaine. However, for those who keep using cocaine, the “high” associated with ongoing use becomes less and less pleasant, and can produce fear and extreme suspicion rather than joy (euphoria). Just the same, the cravings may remain powerful.

Quitting cold turkey cocaine

You should always consult a doctor before you try to quit cocaine. How can you withdraw from cocaine safely? It is possible to quit cocaine without the help of a detox or rehab, but the do-it-yourself method isn’t recommended, because it can be dangerous, and it is less likely to lead to long-term sobriety. Additionally, no matter how you quit cocaine, it’s a good idea to receive some type of counseling. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn ways of modifying your thoughts and actions so that it’s possible for you to stay clean.

Stopping cocaine cold turkey risks

The main risks of quitting cocaine without medical supervision include relapse or acting on suicidal thoughts. Additionally, people who are experiencing cocaine cold turkey will often use alcohol, sedatives, hypnotics, or anti anxiety medications such as diazepam (Valium) to treat their symptoms, increasing risk of medical complications. Unless directed by a doctor, use of these drugs is not recommended because it simply shifts addiction from one substance to another. Further, All prescription drug use should be monitored carefully in patients who abuse substances.

Finally, at least half of all people addicted to cocaine also have been diagnosed with a mental disorder (particularly depression and attention-deficit disorder). These conditions should be diagnosed and treated. When correctly assessed and addresses, relapse rates are dramatically reduced.

Can I quit cocaine cold turkey?

It is possible but not advised that you quit cocaine cold turkey; this process assumes that you are trying to stop using cocaine on your own. Never quit cocaine cold turkey without consulting with a medical professional.  You’ll need medical supervision for any type of stimulant withdrawal, because patterns of suicidal thoughts and dysphoria are common.

If you wish to stop using cocaine, try to avoid the people, places, and things you associate with the drug. If you find yourself considering the euphoria produced by cocaine, force yourself to think of the negative consequences that follow its use. Group participation with peer support (such as 12 step groups, SMART Recovery, or Rational Recovery) is helpful for many people.

Get off cocaine cold turkey questions

If you still have questions about cold turkey cocaine, please leave your questions below. Additionally, we invite you to share your experiences regarding cocaine withdrawal in the comments section below. We try to respond to all legitimate concerns with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference Sources: Medline Plus: Cocaine Withdrawal
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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